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Shoe Review: ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite

The ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite sitting on pavement

Stability, now lighter on your feet—and on the environment.

While the new ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite has the legendary Kayano name, it uses new technology to create a more eco-friendly shoe. A new foam stability system maintains the stable ride you need if you overpronate, while lightweight components won’t hold you back.

Fleet Feet reviewers laced up the all new ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite to get a feel for the materials, see how it fits and check out the ride. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite

Weight

7.6 oz (W), 9 oz (M)

Drop

13 mm (W), 10 mm (M)

Stack height (heel/toe)

25/12 mm (W) 23/13 mm (M)

Category

Stability

Use

Everyday training

Surface

Road, track

Lighter Feel, Sustainable Materials

A pair of the ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite on the pavement

The ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite uses more sustainable and recycled materials than its namesake, giving it a lighter footprint.

A lightweight mesh upper covers the Kayano Lite. The mesh is soft to the touch and smooth to mitigate any annoying chafing, but it’s also made from recycled materials to help divert waste from landfills.

Testers love the use of sustainable materials, especially since there’s no discernable difference in quality or comfort compared to conventional components.

“I love this shoe,” one reviewer says. “It fits my foot well, and hugs the midfoot. It’s also super soft all around.”

Like many ASICS running shoes, the Kayano Lite uses an internal heel counter to lock in the fit. The heel counter provides good structure to the back of the shoe that keeps your heel in place as your foot flexes during the transition through the midfoot.

Reviewers say the Kayano Lite has an average fit that should work for a wide range of feet, although it’s not as roomy as the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27. The midfoot is comfortably snug when you slip your foot in, and the forefoot lets you wiggle your toes.

Silky fabric in the heel and under the tongue add a premium feel and help reduce the chance of getting blisters.

A rubber outsole increases traction on pavement and adds durability. The abrasion-resistant rubber is softer and lighter than previous versions, creating a more cushioned and flexible feel.

Stability Without Structure

A pair of the men's Kayano Lite running shoes in green

Many traditional stability running shoes employ a firm piece of foam or plastic embedded in the midsole to achieve the stable ride. Called a medial post, that stiff foam piece compresses less than the surrounding foam to keep the shoe neutral throughout the runner’s stride.

Instead of using a medial post for stability, though, ASICS used shape. A grid of deformable shapes on the top of the midsole help slow the rate of pronation, which ASICS calls 3D Space Construction.

The midsole foam is also shaped concavely on the lateral side of the heel and convexley on the medial side to compress more when you land and firm up when you roll into the transition.

The technology isn’t as obvious as a traditional medial post, which you can usually see embedded into the midsole’s sidewall, but Fleet Feet reviewers say it works, and it makes the shoe feel more versatile.

“The Kayano has been a traditional stability shoe,” one tester says. “But the Kayano Lite doesn't have the Duo Density foam on the medial side like the original version. Don't be worried though, I definitely felt the support on the medial side.”

A wider sole also improves stability through the midfoot.

Testers noticed the stability, but the Kayano Lite is also soft. One reviewer says the soft ride feels great underfoot, and it’s best used on those days when miles add up.

“They are simply plush,” she says. “They feel soft and luxurious. It’s not a fast-day shoe, but a take-care-of-my-feet-day kind of shoe.”

Conclusion

A man tying the ASICS Kayano Lite running shoes

The ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite delivers comfort and flexibility while maintaining the stability that made the Kayano famous.

The Kayano Lite boasts a soft, breathable upper to keep you comfortable for the long haul, and they packed it with lightweight FlyteFoam technology to cushion the ride. By using shape instead of a medial post, the Kayano keeps the stability overpronators need without any extra features.

Built with a lock-down fit and designed with sustainable materials, the ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite is a great choice for any runner who needs a little extra stability.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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